Today was an interesting day. I found it hard to wake up this morning because I was SUPER POOPED lol (humor me…yes I know I’m goofy). Anyway, I woke up this morning feeling like a little kid that had just started school and was dealing with the fatigue caused my learning. (Just for reference My little Rosetta Stone French and German lessons I told you guys about last night, were much more hardcore than the previous days. ) Anyway, ( I have a feeling I will be writing a lot of Anyway today), that combined with the fact that my partner didn’t have to go to work until the afternoon left me with minimal reason to make an effort earlier than I did. 😁
When he was showered and about to leave I gave him a kiss goodbye and knew I couldn’t procrastinate much longer. Especially, not with it looking like an ultra beautiful, pre-spring day (Spring starts I think Septemeber 1st in Australia). So I pack my bag and head to Fitzroy Gardens to do the things I said I would…YES I ACTUALLY WENT AND DREW AT THE PARK. I finally attempted to satisfy my curiosity by taking the paths NEVER taken, by me…I had an amazing time chilling, drawing, and soaking in my surroundings. Then I headed to the pharmacy to pick up something for my partner.
Normally, I would go to the pharmacy closest to my house, but this time, I decided to go to another one. Partially because it was on the way home, but mostly because of a bad experience I had there last week. As I walked down the nearly empty CBD streets, I saw a poster for K clear aligners, on the window of a dentist’s office. Walking passed the office I saw a smaller sign with a little black girl with pig tails saying “Please Be Kind”. My first thought was wow that’s amazing, even in Australia they are trying to be inclusive. I really appreciated that. Then I thought, “Why ‘Please be kind’, though?” I quickly remembered that in June the Black Lives Matter protest had come through here and that many businesses in the U.S. puts up signs and other paraphernalia attempting to stop their businesses from being looted or harmed during the protest. I grimaced and decided to walk back to check what else the sign said. I looked at the sign and sighed with relief…It was just to tell their customers to wear masks when coming into the office. I was so happy that it wasn’t offensive. However, this made me question “Was I looking to be offended?” I wasn’t sure.
This made me recall my last trip to the pharmacy. I came in trying to find skincare products. Now I’m not sure about you guys, but I had no idea where to start. I was like…I’m not doing research only to find out that they don’t have the products I need in AUSTRALIA or that the prices are ASTRONOMICAL, so I just kind of winged it. I haven’t bought anything new in years, I’ve just been using Cetaphil and whatever products my partner has bought and never ended up using. YES, EVEN IF THEY WERE FOR MEN. Anyway (that’s 3), I spent ages looking up and down the skincare aisle trying to find the best products at the best price that wasn’t from a corrupt brand and/or was cruelty free (a bitch tries to be socially responsible). While I was searching for my products I saw the security guard peek down my aisle SEVERAL TIMES, to the point that I felt that I was being watched. However, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought…no the guy was standing in a similar position when I came in, maybe he was just lingering there. So, I head to the cash register to check out, but then I remember I needed pads because my period will be starting soon (YES TMI, but necessary). I go down the aisle right in front of the cashier and begin looking for my brand (this is not the most socially responsible thing, but I use it as back up for now since I DO WEAR A MENSTRUAL CUP, so yeah…still socially responsible). I was having a hard time finding my brand since I had so many products in my hand, because I didn’t want to put them in my bag and I thought the guy was watching me. As I attempted to hunch over to the bottom shelf to check if there were some in the back I, out of the corner of my eye, see THE SECURITY GUARD…or at least I thought, maybe it was the older gentleman who had just walked past. NO IT WAS NOT. As I walked up to the cashier the older gentleman had just finished checking out and was wearing a green coat and I believe had his own backpack to carry his things. The man I saw was wearing black and was shorter. I approach the cashier and see the man greet the security guard and leave the pharmacy. I take my empty shopping bag and fill it with everything that I had just purchased. I walk towards the security guard knowing exactly what was about to happen. The security guard said, “Can I see your receipt please?” I opened my bag as I had just put it inside (ironically enough, I almost didn’t grab it, since it’s optional). He reaches in before I can and takes it. He said “I just need to see how many items you have?” I cocked my headed and he then proceeded to check my bag, actually digging through my bag, seeming to check for every last item (it was fast but I felt unjustified). While he searched my bag, I contemplated whether or not to ask him if he had checked the man who had just left, knowing full well he DID NOT. When he finished rummaging through my bag I almost left, but instead decided to ask. He said “What?” Like he didn’t know what I just said. I may be many things, but a MUMBLER I AM NOT. I repeated “Did you check the man who left before me?” His response “I check bags larger than this size” he put his two hands on top of one another, palms facing himself(I was going to be shady and describe him, but I’m sure you have an image of him and it’s not handsome or tall or young or fit…OK THAT WAS SHADY). I smirked UNDER MY FUCKING MASK ( I wish he could see my face DAMN YOU RONA!) and said “Hmmm…” when I was almost certain the older gentleman that left before me had a backpack and left with the quickness.
After this happened I doubted whether or not I was making a big deal out of this because there were so many uncertainties:
- Maybe he did check the guy
- Maybe he was just loitering in front of the skincare aisle
- maybe the guy didn’t have a backpack
- Maybe the rules were to check bags over “THIS” size
I had no idea and wanted to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I knew I had never been checked before and had full bags and backpacks all of that when I’ve been in the same store at that location and others. Actually that isn’t true, I have been or really my partner was checked once and that was because the alarm went off and it was because the cashier forgot to desensitize(or something like that) one of the items we bought. So, I entered this pharmacy (same company different location) with trepidation.
I came in was greeted by a black security guard, so I was much more comfortable. *Sigh* However, I decided to run a little experiment this time around. I decided to look for the product MYSELF. Let me tell you…LET ME TELL YOU BAYBY!!!! this place is and will always be a labyrinth. It’s so difficult to find things in there. I think they do the same thing as grocery stores to make you buy more…annoying. So I ended up going up and down several aisles trying to find what I needed, but really testing the security guard and the staff to see if they would follow me. There was a shop assistant(is that what you call them, I have no clue) walking down the aisle I was in. He was literally going to just walk past me. I excused myself and asked for his assistance finding what I needed for my bebe(I call him that again I am goofy and there is a story. If you’d like to know why, leave a comment down below). He happily found it for me, and then I headed to the cashier to checkout. Then I headed to the door for the moment of truth. The man greeted me and we both said “Have a nice day”
It became clear to me that I wasn’t looking to be offended. I had a large bag, probably bigger than the one I had last week that had things in it from my trip to the park, and I WAS NOT STOPPED. Sure he was black, but what about the dozens of other times I’ve been in and out of the same store, in the same and different locations, and not been check and NOT ONE OF THEM WAS BLACK. My intuition was right. As a black person we suffer so many mirco and macrogressions that we can sense it before it happens. It often times makes us feel like we are “LOOKING TO BE OFFENDED” or are “MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF NOTHING.” We have been gaslight into thinking that our racist encounters were not racist that “THEY WERE JUST DOING THEIR JOB.” or “WE ALWAYS HAVE TO MAKE IT ABOUT RACE.” God I hate that latter. People say this to us because they are uncomfortable with the reality that we, as black people, face. Remember, the discomfort you feel is real and valid and don’t ever let some one make you question your reality. CALL IT LIKE YOU SEE IT.